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Annotations Some Days in the Life - Daily
The Medicinal Blues
January 11, 2000


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They call "doubling my Coreg every two weeks" Titration, and I had that yesterday, going from 6.25 mg of the chalky goodness twice a day to 12.5 mgs of it. Normally, Titration makes me feel run down for a day or two. This time, I have slightly goofy stomach feelings afterward. If you figure it was a month ago when they first started me on 3.125 mg -- the medication equivalent to nonalcoholic beer -- and now I'm up to four times as much (the medication equivalent to bad blended scotch), I suppose this is the least of what I could expect. Two weeks from now I go to 25 mg twice a day, and two weeks after that I go to the maximum dose of 50 mg twice a day. This is in addition to 40 mg a day of Prinivil, 20 mg of Furosemide (a diuretic), 5 mg of Wayfarin Sodium (an anticoagulant I may have misspelled) and 20 "milliequivilants" of Potassium (to make up for what I lose with the diuretic). Pretty soon, my blood will have a street price of thirty thousand dollars.

I also went to see Granpa Don, who was at the hospital next door to my Cardiologist's, along with my parents, my grandmother, and Granpa Don's daughter.

He looked smaller than he usually does, in bed in an ICU, with tubes and wires all over him. He's not happy there, though he appreciates the people who visit and his spirits are generally good. Which is good because the prognosis isn't great. He needs both leaky valves fixed and a bypass around arterial blockages. But they've had to put off the surgery for a couple of days because he's anemic and he has ulcers which are bleeding. All things to fix, and perhaps fixable.

He had a surgery for a heart problem last year, and he came through it amazingly well. In fact, his chances are better for this surgery than that one. But I don't think we can afford to make assumptions. He's old, and he's tired. I'm glad I saw him, and talked with him.

This is why I moved to the Northeast again, to a large degree. My paternal grandmother died and I was three thousand miles away when it happened. I hadn't seen her in years. And I wasn't on hand for my father or my family, and I felt badly about that. I wanted to be sure that as these things came up I had the capacity to be a part of them.

I'm glad I did. The damage to my heart apparently happened five years ago, which means I could have run into all this in Seattle instead, living alone in an apartment (more than likely) without my family around me, working at Kinko's. Hell, maybe breathing toner dust for three years causes Cardiomyopathy. It could happen. And I've been generally a lot happier over here -- this is my place and these are my people.

Granpa Don used to crush my hand -- he always had a firm handshake and a twinkle in his eye. I remember his handshakes from far back. In a way, he introduced me to them. At an age where I was more likely to hug folks, he shook my hand and set a standard.

I remember being so surprised when I came home, and Granpa Don's handshake wasn't so firm. It was still a good clasp, but I was much stronger than he was, now. I took his hand last night, before I left, and told him I love him. I realized that with the possible exception of when I was a little little boy, I had probably never said those words to him. He wasn't the type for it.

But I do love him, and if he goes I'll miss him, and I'm glad I said it to him. He looked me in the eyes, his voice raspy from tubes being shoved down into his stomach through his mouth, and he said "I know you do, Eric, and I love you." And if his hand was so very weak now, I think I remembered how his firm handshake made me feel.

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